There was a time not too long ago when it looked like Tom Cruise was winding down as the biggest action star on the planet. He was in his late 40s, his personal life seemed to finally be catching up to him, and he went a few years without making a film before making…Knight and Day. He was even supposedly handing the Mission Impossible mantle over to Jeremy Renner. Remember when Jeremy Renner and Shia LaBeouf were about to become two of the biggest movie stars on the planet? 2009 was a much simpler time. But, other than the Marvel marketing machine, none of the next generation action stars really stuck. And here we are still with Mr. Tom Cruise (who is eleven years older than my dad, by the way) going strong as the biggest movie star on the planet.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation shows no cracks in the armor, either. Cruise is at the top of his game here. He hangs out of a plane, holds his breath for three minutes, and takes off a mask in an enjoyably hammy scene near the end of the film. I took my girlfriend (not necessarily a Tom Cruise aficionado) to the film, and she seemed to be enjoying it fine. But I realized I hadn’t properly primed her for the movie she was watching. As we watched him hang out of the plane, I leaned over and said, “He does all his own stunts. He actually hung off a plane. He’s 53.” DID I MENTION HE HUNG OUT OF A PLANE?
You know what you’re getting from the MI films by now. Tom Cruise goes from elaborate set piece to set piece and he does cool stuff with cool gadgets, then he beats the bad guy at the end. Everything else is tertiary. Simon Pegg doesn’t have as much to do as he did in the last film but I always enjoy his presence. Jeremy Renner is whatever. Ving Rhames is awesome. And that’s about as prominent as they are in the film, too. Alec Baldwin gives cheesy monologues like only he can, and he’s great as the sort-of antagonist.
But the real scene stealer is the relative newcomer Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. The audience never quite knows which side she is on, but that’s because she doesn’t either. They don’t overdo it with her: there’s no sobby backstory or tender professions of love. She shines in the little moments – the lean forwards, sly smiles, the pensive look she gives Tom as she rides away on her motorcycle. Sean Harris plays the main antagonist in the film but Ilsa is Ethan Hunt’s true equal and almost every scene they share is electric.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a really good film that gives you exactly what you pay for when you buy the ticket. It’s fun, campy, and it offers a good chance to see one of our top stars in his element. Summer is winding down, and Rogue Nation is probably your last chance for a true summer blockbuster. TOM CRUISE HUNG OUT OF A PLANE WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED.
The Verdict: Go see it in theaters with friends and buy popcorn.